More work to be done on safeguarding; Pope’s advisor writes to survivors

survivors sexual abuse

One of the Pope’s key advisors on clerical child sexual abuse has written to survivors recognising the suffering and distress they have endured.

Fr Hans Zollner is president of the Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

He wrote in response after the survivors contacted him following the damning report into the Catholic Church.

The report was produced by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

In his letter, Zollner recognised the suffering and distress that victims and survivors of sexual abuse in England and Wales had endured.

He admitted that there is much work still to be done on safeguarding and is urging a change in the way victims and survivors are treated.

“Without voices like yours being at the centre of this process we will never be able to reach the changes and the conversion necessary for the recent reforms undertaken to take root and bring about real change,” Zollner wrote.

He also urged the survivors to keep in touch with him.

The survivors recently wrote an open letter to the bishops of England and Wales.

They urged a change in the way victims are treated.

The group have received lengthy letters from the Archbishops of Southwark and Liverpool, and Fr Christopher Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Many other bishops from around the country also penned letters.

The bishops and others who wrote referred to the shame they felt at reading the IICSA report. They emphasised the need to heal wounds and meet and listen to survivors.

Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth wrote that listening to survivors’ stories broke his heart.

He said: “Such pain, however, is nothing compared to the agony and torment that you and other victims and survivors of abuse have suffered. Your voices, and those of other victims and survivors, need to be heard consistently not as a matter of the past, but in to help all of us face the reality of abuse.”

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, also apologised to victims and survivors of abuse inflicted over 50 years in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Cardinal Nichols was heavily criticised in IICSA’s final report on the Roman Catholic Church.



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